Definition of cantor in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkan(t)ər/ /ˈkæn(t)ər/ /ˈkantôr/ /ˈkæntɔr/


  • 1An official who sings liturgical music and leads prayer in a synagogue.

    • ‘Synagogue services can be led by a rabbi, a cantor or a member of the congregation.’
    • ‘One thing I remember clearly is how she sang the cantor in the synagogue service.’
    • ‘His mother was Rosalie Israelssohn while his father was Adolf Lasker, a cantor in the synagogue whose role there was to lead the liturgical prayers and chanting.’
    • ‘Look around a synagogue when a cantor offers a new tune for prayer, and both sides of the debate will become apparent.’
    • ‘Hammer is a devout Orthodox Jew and the son of a synagogue cantor.’
    • ‘The answer is chilling: many clergy persons in many churches and some rabbis and cantors participate.’
    • ‘He spoke Yiddish and had been a cantor in a Harlem synagogue.’
    • ‘Slowly, slowly I began to approach the Wall in fear and trembling like a pious cantor going to the lectern to lead the prayers.’
    • ‘A member of a musical family, in which his mother, Rose, sang and played the songs of Cole Porter and Jerome Kern, and his grandfather was a cantor at a Bronx synagogue, young Alan joined right in.’
    • ‘Finally, it's come to my attention that the up-and-coming Canadian boy band B4-4 is fronted by the twin sons of the cantor of my family synagogue.’
    • ‘The Jolson Story - Young Asa Yoelson lives with his parents in Washington where his father is a cantor at the local synagogue.’
    • ‘Scored for mixed chorus, tenor and organ, it was premiered at the synagogue with its cantor, David Putterman, singing the tenor solo.’
    • ‘I am not a cantor by profession, but my synagogue, like many, prefers to employ regular members like myself to lead the prayers instead of going the professional route.’
    • ‘Often in non-orthodox settings, prayer is undertaken by the rabbi and the cantor.’
    • ‘Many boys also read the weekly Torah portion, having studied it in advance with a cantor or scholar experienced in reading the Torah.’
    • ‘He played on the Jewish soccer team, enjoyed listening to the cantor sing at the town synagogue and has maintained close friendships with several childhood Jewish friends.’
    • ‘As the cantor would be reading about the Temple, I would completely disconnect, planning my summer vacation, celebrating the end of my exams, or just hoping that the fast will go well this year.’
    • ‘Too many cantors ignore the subtlety of their sacred practice.’
    • ‘He approached a friend and colleague, John Braham, a former cantor, who had been baptized and had become the leading tenor in London.’
    • ‘The cantor began to chant a soft melody called Kol Nidrei.’
  • 2(in formal Christian worship) a person who sings solo verses or passages to which the choir or congregation responds.

    • ‘In my parish, I'm a cantor and choir member, and I really enjoy singing and leading the congregation in song.’
    • ‘The ceremony is begun by the priest, assisted by a cantor or church choir that sings the responses.’
    • ‘The collection for parish choirs, congregations and cantors features new compositions by Liam Lawton and Kiltimagh born composer Ronan McDonagh.’
    • ‘Unison congregational responses alternate with vernacular stanzas sung by a cantor.’
    • ‘When I am around people under 18, or working as a cantor in a Christian church, I either hide it or take it off as a sign of respect toward another's sacred space.’
    • ‘Openly lesbian and gay people act as Eucharistic ministers, lectors, and cantors and fully participate in many of the parish programs.’
    • ‘The cantor's solo is the most passionate, heartrending music of the liturgical year.’
    • ‘The lectors, the cantor, many of the servers and all those bringing up the gifts were female.’
    • ‘I've celebrated Mass with the Catholics and served as a choir director and cantor.’
    • ‘Liturgical worship was increasingly performed by clergy, with the cantors, for the laity; and the clergy were more heard than seen.’
    • ‘The rich-toned chanting and counter-chanting of priests, cantors and people went on for two hours while candles smoked in the breeze and clouds rolled like gunsmoke over the shoulders of Psiloritis.’
    • ‘One of those is David Cherwien, cantor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, the same position Manz held for many years.’
    • ‘In a Lutheran service, there is a minister, a cantor, a servant, and an organist.’
    • ‘Since 1999 she has been a regular cantor at St Patrick's Cathedral & is a freelance singer for weddings & other ceremonies’
    • ‘From the beginning of his career, he viewed his task as composer and cantor as the creation and performance of music for the glory of God.’
    • ‘Her husband, cantor at a local Orthodox church, informed the police who arrested him.’
    • ‘On November 11, 18 and 25, the Tuam Archdiocese is running work-shops for cantors, leading the singing at Mass and on other occasions.’
    • ‘Laypeople have served as readers, prayer leaders, cantors, communion ministers, announcers, and greeters, as well as ushers, acolytes, and musicians.’
    • ‘Back at Maynooth College he joined the choir and became the senior cantor in charge of liturgical singing.’
    • ‘Wolff traces his development as organist, composer, cantor, court musician and teacher, culminating in Bach's 27 years as cantor and music director in Leipzig.’


Mid 16th century from Latin, ‘singer’, from canere ‘sing’.



/ˈkan(t)ər/ /ˈkæn(t)ər/ /ˈkantôr/ /ˈkæntɔr/